SPINERGY MXX-E WHEELSET REVIEW
Review by Drew Rohde
Spinergy’s MXX-e wheelset is a long departure from their first wheelset launched in 1990. For the last few decades Spinergy has been producing wheels for bikes and wheelchairs and while they may have disappeared from the radar of most off-road riders, it seems they’re ready for a comeback. Since the development of their patented PBO fiber spokes, Spinergy has built a wheel range that spans from road racing to aggressive enduro and even eMTB. We put a set of their MXX-e eBike wheels to the test to see how they stand up to the abuse of the high desert and lava rocks.
Spinergy’s MXX-e is the burliest wheel in the Spinergy product portfolio, built to handle the rigors of eMTB and enduro/freeride mountain bikes. As with the rest of the Spinergy lineup, the MXX-e wheelset makes use of their PBO fiber spokes. Built with a bundle of over 30,000 Zylon fibers that stretch the length of the spoke and offer a list of performance benefits according to Spinergy, we set out to see if the claims stood up.
The claims span from improved damping and “free suspension” to their incredible strength, three times stronger than steel, at half the weight. These fibers are coated in a composite that protects them from UV, chemicals and abrasion to prolong their life in harsh environments. The MXX-e uses a MOTO version of the PBO spoke, featuring a 33% thicker cross-section than their standard spokes, to handle the toughest abuse. There are 24 of these spokes, laced in a 2X pattern to produce the desired balance of strength and compliance that Spinergy deemed to excel on rough and rugged terrain. They’re available in a variety of colors, making use of their much thicker diameter to make a fashion statement on your ride.
What is PBO? Polyphenylene Bensobisoxazole fiber strands is also known as Zylon and has an excellent tenacity. It is a synthetic polymer invented in the 1980s with a tensile strength that is 1.6 times that of Kevlar and is also stiffer than steel. It is regularly used in tennis racquets, snowboards, SpaceX suspension lines on their Mk3 parachutes and even some Martian Rovers. Had we known all this before we started riding the MXX-e wheels, our doubts regarding the “plastic straw spokes” may have been lessened. Sometimes we like to learn the hard way.
The rim of the MXX-e wheelset is a carbon fiber unit that’s filled with a foam core, which increases the strength and stiffness of the wheel while further improving the vibration damping characteristics. The rims are available in both 27.5” and 29” sizes and have a 26mm depth and 30mm internal width to suit the most common tire sizes. As you would expect, the rims are designed to offer tubeless compatibility, and feature external nipples for easy truing with an included Spinergy-specific spoke key. In the center of the wheels are Spinergy’s “44” hubs, machined out of 6061-T6 aluminum and featuring a 35% bigger profile than their standard units to offer increased strength and stiffness to best serve the rigors of eMTB. This allowed them to use larger ratchet rings to increase reliability of the 108 points of engagement and ensure they can withstand the extra torque produced by the motor, as well as using larger bearings to handle the higher forces of more aggressive riding on a heavier bike. These hubs are offered in all the major standards for frame and fork spacing including SuperBoost, with freehub options to fit all the major cassette standards, and Centerlock brake fitment only. The end caps use a slip-fit system to facilitate easier swapping between standards.
The Spinergy MXX-e wheelset tips the scales at 1,993g all-in, far from the lightest, but definitely one of the best riding, so let’s get to it.
Our review process took a bit longer to get started than usual as we wanted to put the MXX-e wheels on an eBike however with Center Lock only rotor option led to some major hiccups. First we had no adapters and only after we got the adapters did we realize that with the majority of our eMTBs having the speed sensor located on the 6-bolt rotor bolts, our adapters were useless. Eventually a bike showed up that had Center Lock rotors and we were able to get them mounted and riding. Needless to say, we think Spinergy will be alienating themselves from a major segment of eBike sales unless they come out with a 6-bolt ready hub.
Once we were out on the trails, we began to move past our compatibility woes and focus on the ride quality. We must admit, based on the feel of the spokes and the seemingly low spoke tension, we were a bit nervous as to how they’d hold up and wanted to really punish them to see if we could create a failure. Despite months of trying, the wheels are still spinning true and have proved us wrong!
What did transfer over from our impressions however was the compliance and soft ride characteristics of the seemingly low-tensioned spokes. Due to the strength and stiffness of the PBO material, the spokes don’t have to be pulled as tight to keep the wheel’s shape intact. The result is a compliant and comfortable ride that gives traction and a suspended feel that we think a lot of riders will enjoy. If you’re a berm-shralper who runs 40PSI in your tire and live for slashing berms on jump lines, the MXX-e’s are probably not the wheelset for you.
For riders who are looking for a performance wheelset that will also help take the edge of rough, chattery terrain or improve the feel of their bike’s stiffer suspension platform (a la Mondraker, Intense VPP, etc) this could be a really good improvement to your on-trail experience. The combination of spoke material, spoke tension and the foam core rim make the Spinergy MXX-e’s one of the most comfortable wheels we’ve ridden.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Impressed! We honestly hadn’t thought much about Spinergy as a wheel brand since their crazy X-laced carbon wheels from the Pacific Blue TV show days. We just dated ourselves, but look it up, alright you youngsters. At first glance we thought the PBO spokes were a bit gimmicky and that the loose feel of the spokes was going to be a problem. We were proved wrong all around and not only did the wheels hold up, but they offer an impressive ride quality. While they may not be for all riders or disciplines, we have no doubt that riders who are looking for comfort, traction, and a smoother ride, Spinergy’s MXX-e wheels will deliver.